In The Experiment Series we’ve watched backwards, without sound, without subtitles, and so many others. A fundamental aspect in the art of experimenting that hasn’t been addressed, that is, one of the barriers that hasn’t been broken until now is to fully portray we mean and actually do here.
There is only so much that can be explained with words and clever pictures about how the experiments are carried out. The opportunity has presented to take it to the next level via clips to thoroughly explain the latest Experiment in the Series Experiment : Watching Jintai with Un/Fitting Music.
What’s that? Watching AMVs videos on a blog? That’s crazy talk.
This my take on AMVs : Often AMVs go for too long like bad remixs, episode fillers, or the full version of an anime song that surprisingly doesn’t sound as great as the TV-version. I’m usually receptive towards AMV videos, not because of the idea, but mainly due to the huge abundance of them followed by a lack of quality. For me, it should be more than just putting one and another together for the sake of it. I think I can respect a well-made AMV video with dozens of hours and effort put into. I think I can appreciate a product that speaks for itself. On the other hand, an alarming 240p video, one with super grainy quality, and with subtitles included that looks like it was ripped straight out of a streaming site are some major egregious blunders in video making.
So what is it that drives people to create AMVs in the first place? The act of inserting their currently favorite songs into their currently favorite anime? Because they’re good at it? Finding enjoyment in cutting and pasting clips here and there? A love and dedication for their favorite show?
The answer varies from person to person but we go beyond that. We are not making AMV videos. No, we aren’t. However, core idea is similar – music and a video clip – to be precise, anime and the results of it. What I want to prove in this experiment. What I want to convey, the first order of business, is the – Hypothesis – of this Experiment regarding music.
| Sound Influences Perception |
OP themes make the perfect pick for the art of featuring multiple un/fitting songs. It’s not an easy task to look for the right scenes that fit a song – or the other way around. We aren’t making AMV videos. We are experimenting with Anime and everything that comes with it. We have some good leeway to work with, so how about we keep the original scenes of a video and add some music instead?
Music can change everything they come in contact with. It’s some sort of sure-fire magic that always manages to make an impact. If a picture is worth a thousand words then magic is at least half of that, why not let’s even give it more than half, I think it deserves more than a 500. Our minds override what we see and pay more attention to the sound. Think about all those times that you watch the same video but with a different song and the experience was completely different. Music can be so overpowering they can manage override what it is being said and showed with surprising ease. They can change dramatic situations into a cheerful ones, they can change common situations into dramatic ones, and so and so forth.
This a friendly reminder that this an Experiment. An experiment, an experiment. Not a Six Flags commercial. I don’t get to do commercials.
What sort of black magic is this?
> Examples of bad ideas: A music video with low volume – Responding to spam – Making songs to automatically play on your blog – Not having multiple save files.
Question is, will a super happy-go-lucky song fit Jintai? There are many ways we could spin this for Jintai but an upbeat song is really up to Jintai’s alley. Exactly why you may ask? Jintai is not an upbeat show, not in the sense that is downright gloomy but in the sense that it doesn’t fire rainbows from every place possible. We know it isn’t, but that is only known to those who follow the show everyone else would think based on the OP that Jintai is some sort of super happy Y-7 Rating Sunday morning show about rainbows and ponies – where in actuality this is far from the case. The OP is made specially to almost contrast the whole idea of the show.
There’s that. Now there’s this. Chances are the first time you heard the following song was A) In Gears of War commercial B) In Donnie Darko. I’m really shooting for the latter.
Then we really go from something upbeat to | A more Dramatic view |
It’s a fun fact that I almost did not give Jintai a try after I skimmed through the OP song when the summer season started. I’m so glad that I did, for otherwise it would’ve been the worst mistake to have been committed this season. A good wise advice – watch Humanity has Declined.
I’ve been more or less picking random songs but I’ve also picked songs somewhat fitting the show (not necessarily the OP) Jintai being a peculiarly dark show without necessarily being one – we all know this. A heavier theme would fit the darker spoken and unspoken aspects of Jintai fairly well. Skinned chickens running around, Watashi’s sardonic commentary, the craziness in a world after humanity had declined. I’d vote for a heavier song like if the show would be nearly as pessimistic or gloomy, however, Humanity has Declined is in reality very upbeat. While it lends itself to heavier songs at times, it is far from a bleak series. Humanity has Declined’s catchy OP is made especially to not communicate that idea. Bizarrely fun though it shouldn’t yet it still is. Do you see the dilemma?
Third orders of business, | A more Aggressive Approach |
It’s a very long tale. Not about Watashi’s epileptic dance but where languages came from. When humanity was in its initial states it lacked any sort of proper language to communicate, men had to resort to grunts and shouting to convey their emotions and express their intentions. Eventually over the time sounds were given meaning, all of this evolved into languages, then variations happened to what we came to know as the present day. Eventually it led to Internet speak, a big 360 degree rotation.
Example-wise this is a good example in the good kind of way. A good quality about powerful songs is that they convey exactly what they really feel from the very depths. A bad example would a song that is muted after 2 seconds (one second being the moment the ears recognize the song). I will never get tired of pointing out that the world does not need another Let the Bodies Hit the Floor AMV and this is something I’m sure I won’t ever commit while I’m still within my full capabilities. I would please request if they ever consider the thought to instead deeply reconsider. A downside of it is selecting songs that don’t fit a show for video making. This section is very much about every AMV picking strong, loud, and often unfitting songs for videos – the desire to put forth the suppressed fury in forms of songs slapped into an anime clip because we can, rarely works. For every video that does it in a meaningful way, by picking fitting songs for the story, there are more who pick the most popular songs.
> Things I wanted to say this season in order: Jintai’s OP is downright misleading – Nakahara Mai’s Watashi is flawless – The fairies’ engrish in underrated – I really want a Paradog – Bronies have no souls. I wonder why?
What song should I pick for this story? What real idea do I want to convey? What artist should I hire for my anime? Am I going to get a deja vu effect after listening to Ali Project? I would not ask a difficult question such as what is the OST the best depicts your life story and expect it to be answered immediately. Difficult questions are indeed not easy to answer. Some people have trouble remembering important dates, other people have trouble with numbers. I’m not that great with those two, names, and tend to break the lead of mechanical pencils but I think everyone does. I’m good with dogs, or dogs are good with me, I’m not that great with cats. I do want a paradog.
| Psychological OP | are indeed are cases. Anime OP themes are sang by artist and are made to sell, for that purpose studios don’t exactly use any song they can grab. It’d revolutionary if there were more random songs used in anime instead of only popular bands. They’re nice and all, and from a economic point of view it makes sense and all, but we don’t necessarily need songs with meaningful lyrics every time. I’d be fine with a song with only strange sounds, beat sounds and the like. I’d be fine with a song which doesn’t mean anything at all. What I want to say is that I’d be fine with a song and an OP that is fitting with the story than one specially tailored to sound “cool”.
And in this experiment we’ve tried Gary Rules, nu metal, and euro-dance from the late 90’s who liked to party. What was the next logical step?
The logical next step was to go for an anime song | Anime song v1 |
First I considered a J-pop song would be appropriate then figured an anime song would be even appropriate given the nature of the show. What is what we’re watching anyhow? An anime. In a similar vein of following a dramatic effect a theatrical element would have to be further introduced so I went with something spiritual with chanting and chorus. The choice was, of course, Latin, translate this to an anime song, the result, the top pick, was expected to be no other than “Lilium“.
Here again despite the show possessing certain degrees of spiritual connections, Elfen Lied’s Lilium don’t really do it for Jintai’s OP. I half expected to work but already knew that it wouldn’t. It wouldn’t. It couldn’t. The problem wasn’t so much the song, it was because all the scenes in Jintai’s OP are wrong for music preceding it. A common issue is the following : You can’t slap any song to a video and expect it to work. Imagine how easy it’d be if that were the case. Creating the right video is a long process meeting not one or two and not even three but several criteria to eventually get the final product. The reason why a song such as Lilium is inappropriate for Humanity has Declined is because it does not convey what Jintai is about. The point of Humanity has Declined’s OP is never to show a depressing grimdark world, but rather an slightly-mischievous, still strangely fun world populated with oddities found in the world of the new humanity in which old humanity hasn’t yet fully declined. A heavier theme would overdoing it seeing it would overstate the negative some tones and overly highlight what it is implied.
Finally, the | Anime Song v2 | similar in style.
Never mind the lyrics, a theme like Azumanga Daioh OP would be a perfect fit for Jintai. Anime opening themes are predominantly made to be naturally upbeat. That’s more or less the norm when making them. Having upbeat OP themes is a solid concept that works since it encourages viewers to watch and follow the show. ED themes being more calming in nature are reserved for the purpose of purging effect.
What makes a catchy song work is the how energetic Jintai’s OP actually is. If it were characters sitting around, looking outside the window, watching the grass grow, the song would have a difficult time fitting the scenes. Despite music often overriding what actually happens in the video our brains can still pick up when something is off. An unfitting music will certainly stand out, a song closely similar to the scenes will only stand out little.
This is what it has been about.
The change in atmosphere, the change in pace. After a good number of examples we end this Experiment with results demonstrating that in fact music can influence, and possibly change perceptions with extreme ease.
There are songs that fit a video better. There are songs which are to a degree fitting but not quite right and you’ll notice they don’t inherent fit the scenes because you’re already familiar with the show realizing the two don’t mix. Then there are those which really really don’t, and lastly (and to end the experiment) there are songs that are similar to the story but not right for the video in question.
Selecting the right song is a process and can be long one. As shown in the experiment multiple songs create different effects on the video and most importantly on the audience. As with all Experiments in the Series, perceptions are influenced by small factors. Music is a way to demonstrate this point.
*Special thanks to Kai for the great suggestion.